Are Allergies Cramping Your Sex Life?
Nasal allergies may make you feel anything but romantic. Here's how to get back in the mood.
Avoid the Problem
"Avoidance is probably the first and most important treatment of allergies,"
Benninger says. Figure out what you're allergic to and take steps to avoid it.
An allergist can perform testing, which is simple and reliable, to identify the
culprit(s) and help you get relief.
Some of those culprits may be near and dear to you - pets are a common
He says that as many as 70% of people in the United States sleep with their
pets. Even if you don't cuddle up with Fido, if you allow him to spend the
whole day sleeping on your pillow, you may have a flare-up of symptoms at
bedtime. Allowing pets to spend time on your bed increases the odds of
allergic symptoms when it's time for you and your partner to become intimate.
Better to keep your bedroom door closed during the day and pets out.
If you're allergic to ragweed or grass, Benninger advises that you keep the
windows in your bedroom closed so that the pollen doesn't get in. "You'll sleep
better if you don't have that level of exposure in your bed at night," he
Bassett suggests setting your air conditioner on recirculate to keep pollens
out. And don't forget to check the air conditioning filter during high pollen
seasons for the highest level of efficiency.
It's also a good idea to shampoo and shower nightly to rinse the pollens
from your skin and hair, and to change
your clothes before entering your bedroom to reduce pollen levels, Bassett
Even if you don't think you have food allergies, it's important
to watch what you eat. As many as one in three seasonal allergy sufferers
allergic to tree pollen may experience 'oral allergy syndrome' (tingling of the
mouth or itchy throat) after ingesting [certain] foods, Bassett says.
The cross-reaction can be caused by the proteins in fruits and pollens. Tree
pollen allergies can be exacerbated, for example, by foods such as almonds,
apples, apricots, carrots, celery, cherries, kiwi, parsley, peaches, and
Allergic to grass? Watch for reactions when you eat melons, tomatoes, and
oranges. "Often, well-cooked, canned, or frozen food offenders cause no
reaction," Bassett says.
Time to Medicate
Over-the-counter antihistamines such as
Benadryl, Alavert, Zyrtec, or Claritin, along with nasal sprays and eye drops,
can be helpful when you're suffering from common hay fever symptoms. But there
are drawbacks to medicating yourself.
"People go to over-the-counter medications all the time and take an allergy medication
when they have a sinus infection or a cold,"
Bassett says. "If you have ongoing issues, you should speak with a doctor about
what the right treatment is for you and if you need to take it every day."